Driven by an unflinching passion and determination to rise from her humble beginning to the zenith of her career, Fatima I. Haruna broke all the odds: traditional and cultural bottleneck to become a chef, certified culinary professional, trainer, public speaker, brand influencer, radio presenter of “Kitchen Republic with Chef Fatima” on YouTube with over 100 episodes, airing on Human Rights Radio 101.1Fm Abuja a reality radio and tv talk magazine programme. Chef Fatima attended The State University of New York-Global Food Institute (SUNY-GFI) and other institutions.
My name is Chef Fatima Haruna. I attended LEA Primary School in Jos and Government Science Secondary School Jalingo for my secondary school education. I am a graduate of Bayero University, Kano in 2014. I did my one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme from October 2014 to October 2015. I also have a diploma certificate in Accounting and Auditing, advance diploma in Educational Management, advance diploma in Information Management. I am the founder and CEO of Nisa Distributors and Suppliers Limited and Chef Fatima Nig Ltd. While doing my youth service in Abuja I was spotted by the officials of the NYSC and was allowed to be among the trainers on camp to train corps members on Food Processing and household use items for the skill acquisition programme of the NYSC. At the end of my service year in 2015, I won an NYSC Honours Award for Exemplary Service to Nigeria. I am currently a radio presenter at Human Rights Radio 101.1FM in Abuja and also a member of popular radio programme Brekete Family where I anchor a programme, “Kitchen Republic with Chef Fatima” which is aired on Human Rights Radio 101.1 FM and has over 200 videos on Youtube.
I have attended several professional and international training and certifications on food processing within Nigeria and outside the country whinclude the State University of New York-Global Food Institute (SUNY-GFI) and other institutions. Some of my training and certification include Masters Certified Food Service Professional (MCFP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP1), Certified HACCP Professional (CHP), Certified Culinary professional (CCN).
I started cooking from home. My mother used to be a small-scale restaurant keeper while my father was a civil servant. My siblings and I used to assist my mother in her small kitchen business where she taught me and my sister how to prepare different local dishes. While this was a normal duty especially for the girl child, I took particular interest in the business of cooking, and this was noticed by my mother. Consequently, one day, my mother told me that she would like me to take the business of culinary very serious. Perhaps she had perceived that I could someday make a fortune out of it. This was against my childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor in the future. I, however, took my mother’s counsel seriously, and today, the rest is history.
What keeps me motivated is the joy I see on people’s faces whenever they acquire this knowledge and how the subsequently become self-reliant. They most often than not get so impressed and they become happy with themselves. Sometimes I receive calls from my trainee who pray for me for the knowledge I have impacted on them. I have trained well 100,000 people in several areas on food processing and manufacture of household items within the last six years.
WORDS OF WISDOM
You can still achieve your dreams even at the age of 60, you can break that bond by saying I am born as a poor person or from a poor family, but I won’t die poor by working hard not just to work hard, work hard and smart to achieve that dream you have and also remember to be prayerful, to give the best out of what you can do and of course I am telling you the sky is not your limit for you but it is the starting point for you.
I have represented Nigeria in Dubai, the US, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Ghana in culinary competitions. Whenever there’s a competition I do represent Nigeria and of course, I have lots of gold medals to attest to that. I have won about six gold medals and I have some silver and I have some bronze.
My parents, my husband, ordinary president Dr. Ahmad Isah and Aliko Dangote.
HOW SHE BECAME A RADIO PRESENTER
I wrote a proposal to the founder of the popular radio programme called “Brekete family on Human Rights Radio 101.1 FM Abuja, ordinary president Dr. Ahmad Isah. Six months later, I didn’t get any response from him. So, I went there to submit a reminder. Another three months went by but I still didn’t hear from them. Then, one day I was in Sokoto during the 2016 salah when I got a call to come to the radio station the following day. I headed straight to the radio station. Ordinary President led me into the studio. It looked more like a dream to me, but that was how my mass culinary training started.
MANAGING WORK AND THE FAMILY
It has not been easy, but it happens that at times God plans your life the way you never expected. I’m a mother of four. I have two girls and two boys. But my husband is a very supportive man, he always encourages me to take up the challenge.
My most amazing moment was when we got to Eko Hotel and I was mentioned at an event as one of the most outstanding entrepreneurs because that is my dream.
My challenge at the first was funding because I started this all alone until when Human Rights Radio decided to be giving me free publicity. I also want to take the training to the next level by establishing a culinary school that will meet international best practices. So funding is my major challenge.